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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Tough Guy

On the playground, a tiny little tot fell and started crying. His father picked him up with the obligatory “Don’t cry! Aren’t you a tough guy? You need to be tough!” 

The tough guy was maybe 2,5 years old, if that. He will grow into an adult whose only interaction with his own emotions will be to repress them and will die 6 years earlier than his time as a result (it would be 12 years earlier in my part of the world). And in between, he will saddle some hapless woman with the task of explaining his emotions for him and managing his emotional states. Because the only way to get really tough – as opposed to an emotionally stunted mental wreck – is to accept one’s feelings as fully legitimate.

By the way, teaching children to process and express their own emotions is one of the main tasks of parenting. And this task doesn’t get cancelled out by the child’s having a penis and not a vagina. 

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6 thoughts on “Tough Guy

  1. On the brighter side, I’ve been impressed with how much more prevalent the idea of identifying, processing, and expressing your feelings is in children’s books/shows than when I was a child (in the U.S.)!

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  2. Crystallizing chaos on said:

    What is the best way to express emotions within a relationship as an adult.

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    • Verbally.
      But you have to be free to feel an emotion, identify what it is, and ideally what caused it in order to be able to express that emotion to another person.

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    • It depends on the recipient. Some people are verbal, some visual, them others are tactile oriented. And there are two other types I don’t remember right now.

      There’s always a difficulty where people of different emotional type try to establish contact. Because what’s expressive to one is not so much to another.

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      • “There’s always a difficulty where people of different emotional type try to establish contact.”

        I don’t think these are different emotional types but different sensory preferences (different models have different numbers but visual, hearing and touch/kinesthetic are the main three)

        Saying “I hear you” to a visual person does not reassure them the same way that “I see what you mean” does (and vice versa).

        Knowing your own preference can be tremendously useful. Many years ago when I supplemented my income with private lessons the first thing I would do was assess the student’s preffered sensory mode – indirectly, it’s often not immediately obvious. I once had a student with a smell preference (which is pretty rare and it was not easy to get anything done because of that).

        My own mode is kinesthetic (more precisely body memory) I always enjoy learning more when I’m pysically doing something and can tie the contents to given physical activities. Hearing is in second place and visual is third.

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